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Acceptance in Healthy Relationships

Acceptance in Healthy Relationships can lead to growth in yourself and others. Acceptance of yourself and the other person is important in a healthy relationship. Acceptance of yourself as you are right now and not how you will be after you lose weight or change your hair or makeup, or change in any other way. Acceptance of who you are right now and who your partner or other person in your relationship is right now, helps make way for change.

What is acceptance? Acceptance is facing reality and its present circumstances. Present circumstances might include who we are, where we live, who we live with or without, where we work, our transportation, how much money we have, what responsibilities we have and what we do for fun. Acceptance is easier when life is running smoothly but when challenges come that is when change is resisted. When our dreams and hopes for the future have to change, than acceptance becomes more difficult. Acceptance does not mean adapting to abuse. Abusive behavior is not part of acceptance. It means accepting and acknowledging our circumstances for the present moment, evaluating circumstances from a place of peace and making appropriate changes to solve the problem. Acceptance is for the present moment with sincerity and from the gut.

How do we accept losses, changes and problems others often hurl at us to achieve peace? Melody Beattie suggests every change brings us through a five stage process first defined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross as stages of grief. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
1. Denial is the state of refusal to accept reality and often shows up as minimizing the importance of what’s happening, denying feelings around the loss, or mental avoidance by sleeping, obsessing, compulsive behaviors and keeping busy.
2. Anger may come out as rational and/or irrational when confronting others about a problem. Professional help may be needed to avoid a catastrophe.
3. Bargaining is an attempt to postpone the inevitable and sometimes negotiations can be reasonable, productive and achievable and other times not.
4. Depression can be the exhaustion at the end of the struggle when reality sets in. This is the stage of the process that has been avoided up till now and we must surrender and perhaps forgive. The process is worked out and through.
5. Acceptance is not necessarily a happy time but it’s a letting go of the struggle and coming to terms with what is. This can be a time of peace.

Irene Haire, MC, RCAT, Registered Provisional Psychologist/Registered Art Therapist is in private practice in Edmonton at The GB Building Downstairs-9562- 82 Avenue, 780-232-1055 www.edmontonpsychologistpros.com/info@edmontonpsychologistpros.com

Needs are Respected for Everyone in a Healthy Relationship

Needs are respected for everyone in a healthy relationship! Taking care of others and not getting your own needs met is never a good practice, as it often leads to resentments. We all need our needs met and helping and getting nothing in return is almost never healthy. In healthy relationships, taking care of each others always goes both ways. Being respectful, and getting respect is evident in the way you express yourself, with words, feelings, boundaries and thoughts.

How can you be respectful in your expression? One way to express respect is thru your choice of words. Words can be used to be assertive in your communication style instead of passive, aggressive or passive-aggressive. By being assertive you express honestly what you are needing and feeling. “I feel hurt when we don’t spend time together as we haven’t seen each other much this week, are you extra busy?” Another way to be respectful is to speak kindly without using the four horsemen in every day communication. The four horsemen according to Gottman, are contempt, criticism, defensiveness and stonewalling. To avoid these is one way to be respectful. The dictionary defines respect as a deep admiration feeling for someone or something because of their abilities, qualities or achievements.

Expressing and acknowledging feelings is another means of respecting others. Some people are uncomfortable with feelings and will avoid mentioning them or will address them as cognitions which can feel disrespectful. At times we may withdraw our feelings from people we think might hurt us based on negative experiences in the past. Our feelings are very important; they count, matter and are special. Our feelings are indicators of our internal self and how we communicate to others in the world as well as ourselves. Our emotions connect us to our truth, our self preservation desires, our self enhancement, our safety and our goodness. Our feelings also connect us to our conscious, our thought process, our intuition and are signs of our energy.

What about our thoughts and expression of them? Remember our minds work well to think, figure things out and make decisions. We can figure out what we want, need and when to do what. We can have opinions and learn to trust our thinking and our abilities.

Setting boundaries is a way we can be respectful of ourselves and others. Boundaries allow us to value ourselves, our time and our space as well as do these same things to others when we express them.

Being respectful, and getting respect is ways you express yourself, with words, feelings, boundaries and thoughts. In a healthy relationship all the people involved give and receive respect.

Irene Haire, MC, RCAT, Registered Provisional Psychologist/Registered Art Therapist is in private practice in Edmonton at The GB Building Downstairs-9562-82 Avenue, 780-232-1055 www.edmontonpsychologistpros.com